Ras Leela

Krishna, as a fun loving, playful, young lad had a joyous time on the banks of the Yamuna River with His childhood friends, the cowherds – both male, the Gopa and female, the Gopi.

Many stories, sculptures, paintings have been drawn, through the centuries, on the delightful pranks of Krishna. Many have eulogized through poetry, dance and drama, Krishna and His friends teasing the Gopi.

Many have painted Krishna as a lad cavorting with the young Gopika Stree, maidens of the village.

Many a stories abound on how even married women, finding Krishna irresistible, would leave their meals and husbands just to be with Him.

The stories about the Lila, “acts”, “play” of Krishna with the Gopi, have come down through millennia through various forms of art, through enchanting tales as well as through spiritual messages.

Rasa Lila – Dancing With The Gopi

 In Krishna, the Gopi of Vrindavan saw the divine and were keen on obtaining Krishna as a husband. They therefore undertook fasts and prayed fervently with all devotion. Their minds were fixed on Krishna.

One night, the Gopi were drawn to the woods by the mesmerizing notes from Krishna’s flute. Leaving everything behind, they rushed to the woods to find that there was a Krishna waiting there for each one of them.

The night was spent dancing with their respective Krishna and rejoicing in His company as though each Gopi was His sole consort and that Krishna belonged to each of them solely. It was a very long night.

The moon came out to cool and brighten up the night with its soft glow. The night breeze was crisp and scented with the intoxicating fragrances from wild flowers.

Peacocks and deer mesmerized by this spell, stayed awake and came to lend colour and sound to the dance. They danced to the music too.

The waters of the Yamuna, as they flowed past, gurgled with joy at this sight.

It was the night of a Raslila.

As this night passed and the dance kept going, the Gopi relished being Krishna’s consort and the sole object of His love and attention.

It was a long night but even that gave way to daybreak and the magic came to a halt with the Lila. They had come to the forest at moon rise, with longing for Krishna. Now, before the sun could rise and wake the world, they returned to their homes with pangs of separation.

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Ras Lila

This incident of Krishna dancing with the Gopi has been beautifully described in poetry on Krishna. It is also enacted through various dance forms to this day.

Many have explained this Raslila beyond the miracle and beauty in it, for the essence of the spiritual message that lies there for one and all to relish. This Raslila has been explained by the realized as a symbolism of the spiritual reunion of the seeker with the Divine.

The Raslila dance stands as a metaphor for the emotions of single minded love, devotion and unification with the divine that prevailed in the seeker, the simple Gopi.

The above is an extract from our book, “Historical Krishna – Vol-1-Facets of Krishna, pg 25, 27, 28”.

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Brahmaputra

Brahmaputra is a major river in Asia; a River that cuts across 3 countries, namely India, China, and Bangladesh.

A might River with many names

The river has its origin at Manasarovar in Tibet, near Mount Kailash, where it has name Tsangpo. In Arunachal Pradesh, where it enters India, it is called Yarlang. It is only in Assam, it gets the name Brahmaputra, where it is almost 11 kms wide. Its main distributary is known as Jamuna in Bangladesh, where it joins the Ganga Delta with Padma, one of the main distributaries of River Ganga.

One mighty river with many names!

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Brahmaputra

The river travels a total of 2900 km from its origin in the Himalayas to its mergence in Bay of Bengal. The Himalayan silt that comes from the flood gives the soil its fertility year after year.

The tributaries of Brahmaputra River are major rivers of North East India by themselves. Lohit River, Dhanisiri River, Bibang River are its chief left tributaries while Raidak River, Kameng River, Jaldhaka River, Teesta River are its chief right tributaries.

Uniqueness of Brahmaputra

Only India river with a masculine name

One fact that distinguishes this river is its masculine reference. All rivers in India have a feminine name, barring Brahmaputra. This is on account of its mighty nature, which is more masculine.  Brahmaputra means “Son of Brahma”.

Flows highest

Brahmaputra flows at an average height of 400 metres for about 13000 kms, in the Himalayan region, making it the highest among main rivers in this world.

Strongest among rivers

Based on its flow rate Brahmaputra is also the fifth strongest river in the world. One of the reasons accounting for this great strength of Brahmaputra is its tidal bore, i.e incoming tides from waves travel against the river current. In common parlance, this is known as tidal wave.

One of the widest rivers

Brahmaputra is also one of the widest river in the world, with the average width of 10 kms in plain areas.

Least polluted Indian river

Brahmaputra is today the least polluted among major rivers in India.

Forms the largest Delta

The Brahmaputra river, along with Ganga, forms the largest Delta in the world, known as Sundarbans in Bangladesh.

River with a moving island

Majuli is a large moving island on the River Brahmaputra about 200 kilometers from Guwahati and accessible by boats.

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Majuli island

The boatman in this part of the river, in Assam are known as Majhi.

The Majhi did not just ply their boats but were people who share the culture of the inhabitants on both banks of the river, their songs, the Majhi songs bringing out these facets.

Bhupen Hazarika, a son of Assam, was one of those who brought to the rest of India, the lilting melody of Majhi and Assam.

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Bhupen Hazarika

Link with Ancient India

The region around Brahmaputra, especially in Assam is linked to ancient Indian history.

One of the Shakti Peetha, the Kamakhya Shakti Peetha is located along Brahmaputra, in the state of Assam.

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Kamakhya Shakti Peetha Temple

The literary records on the Brahmaputra region are available from the times of Mahabharata, i.e. from 3000 BCE.  This region was then called Pragjyothisha. The king of those times was Bhagadatta, who fought in the Kurukshetra war under the Kaurava and was defeated by Arjuna.

Dimasa

Dimasa is one of the oldest tribes in Assam tribe. Dimasa means “Children of the Big River”, the big river being the Brahmaputra, around which the Dimasas had established their kingdom, Dimpur. The name Dimpur is derived from the words, Dim, meaning water and Pur meaning city.

Antiquity of the tribe

The antiquity of Dimasas go back to 5000 years, when the Mahabharata happened. Bhima married Hidimbi, the sister of Hidimba who was the chieftain of the Dimasa tribe.

Ghotokacha

Ghotokacha, the son of Bhima and Hidimbi played a major role in the Mahabharata War on the side of Pandavas.

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                     Ghotokacha                                         Kurukshetra Battle

Kirata

The people of this region were also known as Kirata which is recorded in Greek records of 100 CE, the “Periplus of the Erythraean Sea” and “Ptolemy’s Geographia” refer to it as Kirrhadia.

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Periplus of the Erythraean Sea – Book

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Ptolemy

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Ptolemy’s Geographia

Kamarupa

Later this region came to be called Kamarupa, from 350 CE to 1140 CE, of which the most noted king was Bhaskaravarman, in whose reign Hiuen Tzang, the famed Chinese traveller visited his court.

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Hiuen Tzang

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The Kamarupa Kingdom

What remains of Kamarupa today are distant memories, inscriptions and a district by that name – Kamrup.

Ahom dynasty

The Ahom dynasty ruled this region from 1228 CE to 1826 CE. Infact, the present name of the state, Assam comes from the word “Ahom”.

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Ahom Dynasty Insignia

Namami Brahmaputra

Namami Brahmaputra, India’s largest river festival is being held from 31st March to 4th April. The festival will be celebrated in 21 districts of Assam and the festival will be held on the banks of the river Brahmaputra.

The five day festival will include cultural programs, traditional sports, Brahmaputra Aarti, exhibition, film shows, seminars and competitions.